Some people with certain health conditions have been recognised as extremely clinically vulnerable by the NHS and are at high risk of becoming severely unwell if they are infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) .
You are considered to be at high risk from coronavirus if you:
- have had an organ transplant
- have blood or bone marrow cancer
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have a serious lung condition (e.g. cystic fibrosis, severe asthma)
- have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
- are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
If you're considered at high risk, you should have received a letter from the NHS to advise you about the steps you should be taking to avoid infection.
If you think you or a loved one are in this category and have not received a letter or been contacted by the NHS, get in touch with your GP. They may be able to help, or might suggest that you contact your hospital doctor by phone or online.
Most people with neurological conditions don’t fall into these groups, but GPs and hospital specialists are able to identify if any of their patients are at high risk and add them to this group if they need to.
Are people affected by a neurological problem more vulnerable or at higher risk?
If you have a neurological problem, or any other health problem not mentioned above, you may be worrying about whether this affects your risk with the virus and want to know what advice you should follow.
Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk may be higher.
There are 2 levels of higher risk:
- high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)
See above for information about people who are at high risk.
People at moderate risk from coronavirus include people who:
- are 70 or older
- are pregnant
- have a lung condition that's not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
- have heart disease (such as heart failure)
- have diabetes
- have chronic kidney disease
- have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
- have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
- have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
- are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
- are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)
It is currently believed that people who are at moderate risk are able to manage their risk and stay safe, as long as they adhere to the same social distancing advice that everyone should be following.
The Association of British Neurologists (ABN) is an organisation that produces guidelines for the treatment of neurological conditions. They have developed more detailed guidelines to support managing the risk of coronavirus for people with neurological conditions and are continually reviewing the latest data and developments, as well as consulting with their experts, to ensure these are kept up to date.
The guidance looks at particular conditions, but any decisions about your condition or treatment are individual to you, so you must not make any changes without speaking to your healthcare team.
We have summarised the guidance for you here.
You can also find links to other organisations for more information about specific conditions here.
Last updated: 13/05/2020